Intractable Pain Public Comments - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Intractable Pain Caregivers and Family Comments

Comments posted 8/10/15

  1. My wife has severe chronic migraines that she suffers on a daily basis, for which she has had a year of botox treatments. We can no longer afford the shots, as insurance is covering less, and we are paying more out of pocket. The prescriptions she takes sometimes work, but not to the degree that the botox did. We believe that marijuana is a healthier alternative to the medication she is being prescribed and we know that the marijuana works as she has tried it. (posted 8/10/15)

  2. Good day, I respectfully request that intractable pain be added to the list of approved conditions for treatment with cannabis.  My friend [name redacted] was aging beautifully. She went to the community center 5 mornings a week to walk. She volunteered at the Japanese garden and pursued her passion for genealogy and history. Her 20x30 vegetable garden flourished every summer.  Then her back started to hurt. The pain worsened to the point where she could only stand for minutes at a time. A diagnosis of spinal stenosis (bone spurs on vertebrae press on nerves) followed. [Name] tried to manage the pain with escalating medical intervention. First visits to the pain clinic for cortisone shots, then on to major back surgery. All to no avail. What she discovered in the process is that she has zero tolerance for painkillers. All made her very sick; every pain killer in her doctor's arsenal was tried and all failed. Today she takes acetaminophen to sort of dull the pain--she cannot even take ibuprofen--and spends her day lying on her couch. Research and antidotes suggest that cannabis will ease her pain. You have it within your power to restore her to her life, her interests, to resurrect her from the couch. [Name] cannot be alone in her suffering. Please extend your compassion to her and many others and add intractable pain to the list. (posted 8/10/15)
  3. Hi, I would like to request Fibromyalgia added to the qualifying condition list. Fibromyalgia is very painful disease. My dad is greatly suffering from fibromyalgia for years. He could not able to go out much and enjoy stuff he used to be in past. He could not able to come to my house which is one hour and half drive away.   We have to travel to his house more often now. He stopped attending church, and other functions. My mom misses to spend time with him elsewhere. t is hard for her to go alone without his company. He takes morphine to help him sleep at nights. I don’t know if he takes it nightly or once in a while. Can you imagine that Morphine is considered as a last resource to "kill" pain? Many medicines he takes have bad side effects. My dad is very disappointed that Fibromyalgia is not on the first qualifying condition list. He even asked his legislators and doctors to add that. My husband recently asked him if he could take some tools since he no longer used them, but he said, no because he hopes to take medical cannabis and get back to life he enjoys again. It shows me that he has some hope left. My dad plans to send you a letter to request the same. Please, please, please add Fibromyalgia to the qualifying condition list RIGHT AWAY. I want my daddy back, so he can enjoy his life AGAIN. Please do not let my dad lose his hope. (posted 8/10/15)

  4. I am writing the advisory panel that is currently considering a recommendation to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. I would like to express my hope that the panel will expand the qualifying conditions to include those who suffer from intractable pain. Over the last six months I have seen my wife struggle with considerable pain symptoms. During this time she has had to undergo various tests and meet with multiple doctors. Her recent blood tests revealed significantly elevated inflammation. Doctors have gone from wondering if she had lupus to rheumatoid arthritis. There is no certainty at this point regarding her specific diagnosis, but she has been found to have inflammatory arthritis. It crushes my heart to watch someone I love so deeply struggle with such pain. That pain turns to frustration knowing there is nothing to truly cure her condition. I understand that medical cannabis is new to Minnesota and that the process moving forward is delicate. I deeply hope, however, that people like my wife that are suffering from intractable pain can have all options available to them for treatment.  Based on what I have seen and read, medical cannabis in Minnesota is not provided in plant form for smoking. This means unlike other states with medical cannabis, people will not enter shops and leave with a bag of marijuana to smoke. I believe this by itself will prevent fraud and takes away concerns of individuals seeking prescriptions for illegal use.  I have also read Minnesota Statute 152.125 and note that it provides a very specific definition for intractable pain. Given the specific definition, once can conclude there is not going to be a massive increase in the volume of individuals seeking prescriptions. The combination of our statute’s specific definition and that medical cannabis will be in pill/oil form, should remove any concerns about large increases in those seeking prescriptions. In addition, this combination will also prevent abuse of the system and fraud. A clear analysis of Minnesota’s medical cannabis laws and regulations makes clear that any concerns associated with adding intractable pain as a qualifying condition are unfounded. While marijuana remains as a schedule 1 substance, the United States of American as Represented by the Department of Health and Human Services does hold a patent, number 6630507, which covers the use of cannabinoids to treat various diseases. It is my understanding that the federal classification of marijuana has limited the ability to perform studies. There are, however, some studies that found medical cannabis is more effective for treating intractable pain then narcotic medications. I have discovered this information searching everything I can go determine what could possibly help my wife find some relief of her symptoms. If any of you, like myself, have a loved one suffering with the daily issues associated with intractable pain then you understand where I am coming from on this issue.  We should seek to ensure that those who are dealing with the horrors of intractable pain have an opportunity to receive access to all possible treatments that may be available.  For individuals with intractable pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the possibility of having another treatment option that could relieve or lessen pain is enormous. It is so significant that the benefits outweigh any unfounded risks. I cannot put into words what it would mean to me for there to be an option that could help lessen my wife’s suffering. I have other family members that have had conditions that would qualify under the current law for medical cannabis. My wife’s suffering is no less significant than those in my family with those conditions. While I do have a personal reason to include intractable pain as a qualifying condition, I believe an unbiased examination of all issues clearly shows there is no reason to exclude intractable pain from the conditions for medical cannabis.   I respectfully request that those on the advisory panel add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. (posted 8/10/15)
  5. I am writing to beseech the committee to include "intractable pain" in your approved list of conditions eligible to be treated with medical cannabis. I have been on disability since 2008 as I suffer from Trigrminal Neuralgia, an excruciatingly painful syndrome caused by the fifth cranial nerve. It is like having an abscessed tooth and a migraine headache on the entire right side of my face ALL of the time. Opiates are ineffective in treating it; the only available treatments are surgical, with a high risk of facial drooping and an even higher risk of the condition returning after surgery.  My most immediate concern, however, is that I suffer from severe, irreversible spinal stenosis and disc degeneration. After desperately trying to avoid surgery for three years-pushing through numerous herniated discs and pinched nerves-with epidurals, hot baths, Vicodin and physical therapy, I finally succumbed and had disc compression and lumbar spinal fusion surgery on Feb. 11, 2015. The surgery was successful, but unfortunately resulted in permanent serious pain on a daily basis, due to an almost two lb. cage that was inserted into my back. My neurosurgeon, Dr. Kyle Nelson has explained to me that I should expect to be in pain for the rest of my life and continue to require opiates which make me sick, because I am very thin which is causing the cage to create this level of pain (I weigh 84 lbs, in large part due to the constant pain and intestinal side effects of the meds.) I am in physical therapy which isn't making a significant difference. Apparently the only possible solution would be to remove the cage next Feb (you have to wait a year),which would require another seven hour back surgery and recovery, which both of us are loath to consider.   I should add that I am the author of 20 books in fourteen languages and had a thriving career until these medical conditions hijacked every aspect of my life, which has been reduced to spending many hours lying on ice packs in bed, going to doctor appointments and physical therapy, unable to work, socialize or actively engage with my young adult children except for on the rare occasions I am able to go out. My life is all about managing pain. I live alone and am becoming increasingly depressed and isolated; I have never been a recreational user of marijuana nor do I have any history of opiate abuse or any other addiction.  I have and continue to try every possible legal pain medication: I have been put on morphine, dilauded, a fentanyl patch, Vicodin and Valium-all of which have horrible side effects, as well as alternative modalities including massage, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, supplements, etc.   I am seeing my pain management doctor, Dr. Jason Wolff, at ISpine this coming Monday, July 13th and am planning to ask him to write a prescription for medical cannabis. I expect he will agree (unless he wants the surgeon to handle it, who will also agree), but according to my understanding, the drug has not been legalized in Minnesota, in which case I am not sure how to proceed. I understand it is being considered and I hope you will take my situation seriously and consider this letter a petition for medical care that I badly need.   In the meantime, I am wondering if the condition you list as "muscle spasms" which is a large part of what causes the pain would be considered if the source is severe spinal issues and not specifically MS. I would also like to ask that you consider adding Trigeminal Neuralgia to the list of acceptable conditions. It is commonly referred to as the "suicide illness;" more information can be found at  I realize that these comments are being collected as part of a fact finding mission, but I hope someone will respond so that we can discuss this on the phone. I can be reached at [redacted].  Many thanks [name redacted] (posted 8/10/15)

  6. YES!  Intractable pain should be added to the list of qualifying conditions.  I was hit by a drunk driver and left for dead (in the ditch) in a hit and run.  Many of my joints have osteo-arthritis, my neck was broken and all of my lumbar discs were destroyed.  I am in pain 24 hours a day, 7days a week.  My doctors have prescribed oxycodone, tramadol, and hydrocodone to try and give me some relief.  Nothing helps!  I even took a trip to Oregon and was instantly accepted.  Upon trying medical marijuana l was able to feel relief for the first time in over 10 years.  I understand what it is like to be tortured, as l suffer pain without relief.  PLEASE, add pain to the list of qualifying conditions.  It should not matter if a person's pain comes from cancer or another health problem.  Pain is still pain.  Please l beg you. (posted 8/10/15)

  7. I have had two surgeries to get rid of unbearable shocking nerve pain over the last 5 years. Nothing has helped. I sleep only 3 to 4 hours a night. If this would help I would sure be willing to try it and should be allowed to. (posted 8/10/15)

  8. I am a man in my mid- 30's suffering from chronic back pain after a failed back surgery. I moved to Rochester to receive the "best" care I could find. I also moved here from a state which had a substantive medical marijuana program.  I was encouraged when Minnesota undertook this plan, but unfortunately it comes up very short to help the most patients possible. That is patients in pain. When the doctors basically said they've tried everything, and it got me to a certain point after multiple rounds of physical therapy and tapering off the narcotic pain medicine about 3 years ago, I am left to suffer the terrible daily, constant & debilitating pain that has become my life. I thought the medical marijuana program here in Minnesota would help me greatly in my attempt to live as "normal" life as possible with a decent quality of life.  One in four Americans suffers from daily back pain. That is a lot of people. Sadly the medical establishment has left us behind. I ask that you not leave us even further behind by giving patients like me access to safe, regulated, medical grade cannabis. Thank you. (posted 8/10/15)

  9. I'm 61 years old. I suffer from autoimmune disease that affects my joints.  I also have liver damage due to the autoimmune disease.  Taking the NSAIDs that helps to relieve my joint pain, does more damage to my liver.    I didn't ask for this disease - fate handed it to me.  It's a no-win situation that medical marijuana could resolve. (posted 8/10/15)

  10. I have been going through intractable pain for almost 9 years. I have suffered a back and neck injury from an accident with a semi truck. I think intractable pain should be on the list of qualifying factors. Intractable pain is something we should be able to get some relief for. I have consumed oils in the past and it helps tremendously with pain. I hope that intractable pain is approved and put on the list of qualifying factors for medical marijuana. It would be a major help to those of us that suffer from severe/chronic pain. Thank you. (posted 8/10/15)

  11. Qualifying Conditions of Intractable Pain Concerns To Whom it May Concern:  My name is [name redacted], I am 71 years old and live at [redacted].  My phone number is [redacted] and my e-mail address is [redacted].  I would like to add my comments and concern to your study of the influences of intractable pain on patients so intractable pain can be added to the qualifying conditions in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program.  I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and costrocondritus at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Mn 1996 and have lived with its effects for the last 19 years.  With the above diagnosis of ailments, comes excruciating pain in my sacrum, tailbone, buttocks, head, shoulders and neck with muscle spasms in my buttocks, sacrum, rectum and bladder tinnitus and pain throughout my whole body.  At times, the pain is more intense than at others and I have lived with the pain ever since being diagnosed.  I have tried many things over the years to alleviate this pain without success.  Due to my poor health condition, I am for the most part home bound as I find it very difficult to drive, cannot get comfortable in any position, find it hard to sit, stand, and lay for any length of time,  I find it hard to read or watch TV due to neck pain.  I can't comfortably sit in a vehicle seat, but must lie down on an air mattress in the back of our vehicle to go anywhere.  The ever present pain rules my life as I cannot escape it except while sleeping and then I wake up intermittently due to the pain and find it hard to go back to sleep.  I presently take Gabapentin daily and Valium when the pain get too intense and unbearable.  Those medications along with Advil and Tylenol, at times seem to give me a measure of short term relief.  I would like to see intractable pain added to the Qualifying Conditions of the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program.  I have never tried to use Medical Cannabis before but now that it is legal, I would like the option to try it to see if I can get some relief from the ever present pain by its use.  The Medical Cannabis is my last hope to try to regain a life without the constant pain and agony I now suffer with.  Please add the effects of the intractable pain of fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and costrocondritus to the Qualifying Conditions of the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program.  Thank you for your consideration in this matter.    Sincerely,  [name redacted], St. Cloud, Mn. (posted 8/10/15)

  12. As a 40 year old female diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I cannot understand why it is a debate to allow Medical Cannabis for intractable pain.  Why would you allow it only for patients with cancer and severe pain and not the rest of us who deal with chronic pain EVERY day for the rest of our lives?   There are days when it is near impossible for me to get out of bed to take care of my family.  There are days when my body hurts so bad I wish it were terminal.   There are days my muscles hurt so bad I want to tear off a limb.  Cancer with chronic pain is horrible.  So is Chronic Pain without Cancer. (posted 8/10/15)

  13. Hello, My name is [redacted]. I am eighteen-years old, and have been suffering with chronic pain and digestive disorders for over two year now. I have been tested for Crohn's Disease and Celiac Disease, as well as ulcerative colitis, but have only been diagnosed officially with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) - nobody knows what is wrong or how to help.   I want to strongly urge the MDH to consider adding intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program. I have been unable to be an active participant in my own life for two years now. I have lost more than 30 pounds and experience constant nausea. I have not gone a day without gas, bloating, abdominal distention or diarrhea in over a year. By the age of eighteen, I have already had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, as well as countless other tests, procedures and hospitalizations due to my gastrointestinal problems. I am barely capable of eating, and even when I can eat, my diet is so restricted as to allow for almost no variety, variation or true enjoyment.  I am barely a legal adult, and I am unsure how much longer I can deal with the pain I am in. All I want is the ability - if not for myself, than at least for other people with uncontrollable chronic pain - to have access to something that might help. Please considering opening up the qualifying conditions to include intractable pain, if medical cannabis is recommended or referred by a doctor.  Thank you for your time and consideration. (posted 8/10/15)

  14. Hello, I am writing to you to include my voice in the discussion about Medical Cannabis in MN. In 1999, I injured my neck moving a LOT of computer equipment in one day, 7000lbs to be exact, and it caused my C5-6 disc to rupture, it took the DR's 9-10 months to figure out what was wrong, and after 14 months, the disc was removed and fused together...  I have been on numerous different prescription medications since then, with the ONLY relief from the constant muscle spasms and pinched nerves coming from Cannabis.  ALL other medications have had numerous side effects that make me unable to do most anything.  I have not worked in 6-7 years, and have been disqualified from different jobs due to the requirement of drug-testing and knowing I would not pass. If Intractable Pain was included as a qualifying condition then I may be able to go back to work again, without fear of losing my job for seeking relief from the daily pain I experience.   I would like to have intractable pain included in the qualifying conditions so that I may start back on the path to employment knowing that I will both not be disciplined for using this medication, and by getting the relief I need and deserve...  thank you for your time! (posted 8/10/15)

  15. Hello. I just wanted to add and say that I suffer from chronic pain and arthritis, I have been on multiple medications for arthritis and have been seen by a doctor multiple times for chronic pain... result prescription pain pills and cortizone shots... I have indeed tried medical before and actually order it from Colorado.. yes doing so is illegal and I know that.. result- I feel better, my joints don’t hurt and my arthritis doesn’t flare up... I also have social anxiety disorder along with a slight bipolar disorder... results more medication and side effects I don’t want to deal with... please help! Chronic pain can be fixed by medical marijuana and helps me do my job every day let alone play with my 2yr old daughter... it’s hard for me some days to even. Get down to her level or on the floor to play with her.... when I vape, 5 mins later everything is better.. please feel free to contact me [redacted]. (posted 8/10/15)

  16. I have degenerative joint disease in my right shoulder, right wrist and left knee currently.  My right knee is soon to follow.  My condition makes it difficult for me to sleep and my waking hours are filled with constant pain and aches in my affected joints.  The cartilage in my right shoulder and left knee are gone.  This causes me to have little range of motion a lot of the time.  I max out doses of OTC pain relievers and sleeping pills with no relief.  I currently receive Kenalog injections that provide minimal relief.  I am only 38 years old and my condition will continue to worsen as I age.  Cannabis bath soaks (Epsom salt infused with cannabis oil) as well as edibles or smoking allows me relief I cannot get otherwise.  I will not take opiates.  The only 2 choices I seem to have currently are to become a legal opiate addict or exist as a criminal.  The thought of leaving Minneapolis to move to Michigan where my condition qualifies me for MMJ is heartbreaking.  My daughter lives here and I can't imagine having to move 5 hours away from her to be law abiding.  Please consider the thousands of Minnesotans like myself who would benefit from the addition of intractable pain to our MMJ Law.  Thank you (posted 8/10/15)

  17. To whom it may concern, I am a 33 year old father of 3 with ages of 14, 3, and 17 months. My 14 year old lives out of state while the little ones live in the home. Since my first time dealing with back pain at the age of 18 while working plastic injection molding machines, I have had to deal with the everyday aches and pains. My work history has always been labor intensive. Poor young guy from the slums of Duluth, MN it was the best way to make my way through life. My paternal grandmother did the same and always said " they don’t call it back breaking work for the hell of it, go to school, get a desk, and a gym membership. You’ll thank me even though it takes longer to make the money, you will have your body, and health to spend it". That was usually followed by watching my mother spend 3 days on the couch, or her comfy chair resting her back because it went out again simply carrying in groceries. Over the last 15 or so years she has had 2 fusions of the lower spine (L-4 to S-1 fused). And 2, or 3 (can’t remember for sure) Laminectomy/Discectomy's. Now I’ve always strived to work hard to make enough to make it. Before kids 9-10 bucks an hour being a shovel jockey, or press operator, or warehouse worker, even running a recycling intake processing plant. All strenuous, highly labor intensive positions. In 2010 I made a change to telemarketing. My daily pain level had risen to the point I was using all the common over the counter pain relievers, multiple times a day to keep going. I thought maybe, just maybe Grandma, and Mom may have been right. So I figured sitting at a desk not lifting anything heavier than a toner cartridge, would be better for my back. Then came my 2nd child. In 2012. By then my pain had become unbearable with several trips to the Emergency Room.  One very nice, no-judgmental (Very RARE) ER Dr. that had seen me go farther and farther down the pain path told me to seek a dr. and find out why I’m having the issues. He explained they cannot look into why, can only give me a "pain band-aid" and since I was now making bi-weekly sometimes weekly visits the hospital could refuse to treat me and label me a "drug seeker". I took the advice and after countless missed work days for tests, MRIs, Injections (mid 2012 I was placed on a narcotic opiate pain reliever contract) and Physical Therapy. The dr. could see lots of degeneration in my discs( L3,L4-L4,L5-L5,S1) but with all the injections, tests, and PT I was making very little progress, and nowhere near my goal of a daily pain level of 3-4 without medication. I was referred to a neurosurgeon and he performed a few more tests (was hesitant to even deal with me due to my young age). Finally pinpointed my most bothersome issue (loss of feeling, and reduced function in lower left leg/foot, with nonstop pain radiating down my left lower back thru my buttocks, down my leg (felt like hot lightning bolts shooting anywhere from multiple times an hour to multiple times per minute). I was hardly able to walk. Was offered to have my Sacro-Illiac joint fused (connects hip bone to bottom of spine). This resolved the main issue but still found myself waking up at a 7 reaching for my pain pills and waiting 20-40 minutes for the pain to subside. In 2014 I brought my daughter sledding and we hit a small jump that we did not see. I immediately felt that "Please God not again" pain that people like myself fear the most. After not getting better I asked to have another MRI, within a week I was undergoing a Laminectomy/Discectomy on L3,L4. I welcomed my youngest child a week later. Now with 2 children I needed to increase the household income. My Dr. and Surgeon both agreed it would actually be good for me to work labor (theory being stopping the labor, sitting at a desk and not exercising caused my spine to loosen and promote degeneration). Did some PT to learn how to take care of my back. We all agree this is nowhere near over, continuing this line of work, or even getting out of it, eventually there will be more surgeries, for now we medicate with Norco up to 5 times per day so I can get out of bed,  and make it 8-10 (occasionally up to 14) hours as a construction laborer. I have flare ups when I have a week of heavy lifting, or carrying lots of heavy stuff longer than usual and still need the ER for rescue meds. I hate those days. I technically could go into the ER more than I do (1-3x per year). But with pain killers there are a lot of people who fake illnesses to sell them, or use them recreationally. Makes it hard for people with my kind of history (my age and younger looks make it even more trying) to go into there without getting the "yea right" looks from other patients, nurses, even drs. I’ve been accused of coming in to get high. So there are days where I come home near the end of the week, and my meds are unable to keep be below a 7 on the pain scale, where I am justifiably able to go get help. I lay uncomfortably with tears flowing, while my children (that breaks my heart every time standing there knowing daddy’s not going to play with us for a while), along with my fiance (with a look of helplessness and hurt that kills me every time I see it) beg me to go in so they don’t have to watch me suffer. But because I’m too scared to lose the help I do get, or risk being harassed by ER staff for having a contract and coming in, I cry, get no sleep, miss work, and deal with it. Now that you know me let’s talk about adding this to eligible diagnosis for Medicinal Cannabis here in Minnesota. I know so many people who I have met through pain support groups, and in life in general that have raved about its capabilities for relieving pain. I do not like relying on some test tube chemical compound to give me the mid-level quality of life I suffer in. I do not like fearing talking to my dr. about my pain levels. I have only asked for more or stronger once right before my second surgery, and have lied to my Dr. telling them they can take 1 away per day and I can live. Right now at my dosage 7.5/325 5x daily as needed my average (measured hourly over a 30 day period scale is 1/1.5/2/2.5/3 etc.  to 10) pain level is 5.5. For me my comfort level where I do not notice the pain consciously, and it does not interfere with daily life is between 3 and 4. Sounds insane to some who a 4 on the pain scale is equal to being run over by a car. But to me it is pure bliss. Please allow us to try something different. You know long term tylenol, ibuprophen etc...use can actually harm the body. Besides at 33 the efficacy of opiates is low. I’d like to know when I’m on my deathbed there will be a pain reliever that works and I’m not immune to. I like how this program is set. I’d like to feel comfortable talking about my medication, rather than feeling like I’m being judged just for saying I’m in pain. There are many other factors but these are the most bothersome. I wish to use a natural, God given plant based pill received from a friendly open-minded environment, that sounds like it will be much more proactive and open to my feedback, suggestions, and most of all concerns. I don’t have the money to uproot a family to move where I can seek it on my own on a it-might-help basis. I understand the hesitancy, that Minnesota!! We may not be the first ones to jump into uncharted waters, but when we do we’ve already learned from other mistakes, and improved, or added quality to what others have begun. I am all for a slow wade into this. Although the tax dollars I see coming in the full legalization states looks real nice, let’s do this right. At the least open this up to trial basis. Nothing has to be forever. For my family and myself, I ask you to please just give it a chance. Let’s test, let’s learn. New diagnosis a year perhaps to try opening up. In 10 years we could be the go-to plan for any states that are still on the fence. Thank you for your time, and consideration, [name redacted] (posted 8/10/15)

Comments posted 8/20/15

  1. Yes, it should be people suffer everyday with pain. My mother has severe disease she's not able to work anymore on the doctor’s orders. Nothing seems to help her pain in her back or even throughout her whole body. Has had surgery on her neck and it seems to not help that good. I just want her to feel better. (posted 8/20/15)

  2. My father in law has had pain for 60 yrs. He is now 80 yrs old and has chronic pain and drs. cannot find out why. He will in bed crying for 2-3 days at a time! Please help with this so his last few yrs he can be somewhat comfortable! We now can plan a vacation or anything, he lives day by day to see if he wakes up with this pain. He said it can happen any minutes. He has been seen at Mayo in Rochester his whole life. No one can help. (posted 8/20/15)

  3. I am the granddaughter of my grandpa who is experiencing Fibromyalgia. Throughout the years of coming over to my grandparents’ house for holidays, I (and the rest of my family) have noticed the condition of my grandfather deteriorating. He used to be able to get up and greet us at the door when we arrived but is now confined to a chair in the living room where he spends the time we are there sleeping. When my grandmother calls everyone to dinner, he can barely walk the few feet to the dining table. I was recently told by my mother that she was told he spends 12-14 hours a day sleeping because the pain is too great. He has tried over-the-counter medication and prescribed medications with little to no success. My grandfather has heard about the success of medical cannabis with other cases but is unable to try it because his condition doesn't qualify for usage. I would love to see his condition get better so he can have a more enjoyable life free of pain so he can do the things he loves again. (posted 8/20/15)

Comments posted 9/2/15

  1. I strongly believe intractable pain should be included as a qualifier for medical marijuana use in Minnesota.  I have watched loved ones dealing with pain many times. The pain medications currently available are not, in my opinion, very good. They have so many side effects: stomach pain, nausea, constipation,  etc. They are also deadly.   I have a 29 year old daughter who had cancer and struggled horribly with pain during radiation to her neck. They tried so many things to control it, finally ending up on Fentanyl patches. Had I known the dangers of Fentanyl, I never would have allowed it. We were ready to pack her up to go somewhere that marijuana was legal to see if it would have helped. We ended up with a tragedy when another person got into her prescriptions.   I have never heard of an overdose from marijuana.  I also had a relative who suffered with back pain for over 30 years. He too, tried so many different prescription pain medications over the years. None of them were able to give him a decent quality of life. He ended up in a nursing home - only for pain management. He was fine other than that.   Please give this possibility fair consideration. Intractable pain is, in my opinion, the worst fate a person can suffer from. And it is one of my worst fears for myself.  I would like to believe that I live in a state that cares enough about its citizens to consider all of the options and not let prejudice cloud their decision making. No one can ever know the suffering of someone with chronic pain. If marijuana can help them, it seems to me to be such a safe, reasonable thing to try. Certainly safer than many of the legal prescriptions out there currently. We all should have that option, with our doctors being the ones to make the decision. Not lawmakers.

  2. After caring for my late husband ,who battled Esophageal cancer for over 4 years and lived with constant pain that was not alleviated by any narcotics available,  I am fully in favor of making intractable pain a condition that would qualify for medical Marijuana.  There is no reason to make someone suffer and be in constant agony when there are drugs that could ease their pain. Please consider adding retractable pain to this list. Thank you.

  3. My son is a T8 paraplegic who has severe arthritis and has broken every bone in his back which is now held together by metal. He also has neuropathy at his paralysis line. He does not like to take pain pills or medication for the neuropathy but when he smoked marijuana his pain was relieved. He can't smoke it due to work and drug testing. He could easily get pain pills but he hates how they make him feel. No one person should have to live in constant pain yet our government believes that they should. Which is more damaging to the body oxy, gabapentin or medical cannabis?

  4. Hello,   I just wanted to share my friends story. He has Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and he had been treating his pain with doctor prescribed narcotics. Especially the intense pain after he receives injections. The narcotics worked for awhile but his doctors noticed the effects the were having on his liver and kidneys. He decided to try Marijuana in the herb form for his pain. Mind you this man has never been a drug user in his life. The next time i seen him he was walking without his cane and he told me that he has reduced his painkiller meds by half! His doctor was shocked, yet when he asked about Minnesotas MMJ program he was told he did not qualify. Really? This guy is in so much pain and all his doctor can give him is organ damaging narcotics. It's sad that he has to resort to buying MMJ on the street like some kind of common criminal. Please help this man! The people of Minnesota deserve to decide what to use for pain. Especially when its a healthier option. Thank You!

  5. I am 100% for the use of medical marijuana for pain management. Both of my parents are struggling w/ chronic pain. My dad has had four back surgeries and is currently on three different narcotics. My mom had a quadruple bypass surgery, has arthritis and fibromayalgia and spends her entire day in pain. She is also on pain meds. It's ridiculous to think that everyone is OK with either taking oxycodone daily but have a problem with them using a natural medicine to help ease their pain and improve their quality of life. It's time to be done w/ illogical policies.

  6. My wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1994. She has suffered with intractable pain since. Narcotic pain meds do not adequately control the pain. Cannabis would be a more affective treatment for this type of pain than narcotics.

  7. Hello. I am writing to say that I most definitely support this decision. My mother suffers from arthritis and Fibromyalgia and she also has had a hip replacement that has contributed to her chronic pain. She cannot work due to the amount of pain that she endures that these things have caused. We have discovered that medical cannabis has relieved her pain significantly. I am 24 years old and I have to help my brother support her because she does not have the opportunities to work due to her pain. I watch her suffer everyday and it's very stressful to watch her go through this. I truely hope that they pass this for everyone fighting the same fight. Just because they are not terminally ill, does not mean that theu aren't dealing with a great deal of problems. Please take this into serious consideration. Thank you.

  8. Hello,  Please, Please, Please list intractable pain to the list of patients able to be prescribed medical cannabis. My son has severe gastrointestinal problems.  He broke his jaw last summer, both sides.  It is a break with a floating bone on one side. Specialists cannot operate due to close proximity to the facial nerve.  He lives in constant pain-this also has caused severe weight loss.  He is in physical therapy, but so far no relief.  There are no more treatment options.  He is only 23. You need to add this to the list!!!.  Sincerely,  [name redacted]'s Mom.

  9. My husband lives everyday with chronic pain. He is on a man made pill that would kill a normal person. And doesn't have the option to try a natural plant that has been around since man. I would like to have a trial set up so that the people that will decide on this matter. It's would take a person with chronic pain home for a few days. And watch them struggle and take their high priced heroin. I was just like a lot of people and marijuana was bad. Then I decided to learn about it and I was shocked to see that it had a medical purpose. Maybe your mind will change like me. When u come in to your room and loved wants to die because he can't take the pain and won't take more pain meds cause he just wants more and more. So please don't think of us think if it was your love one wouldn't u want the option to just to see if it could help.

Comments posted 9/11/15

  1. In regard to adding to Minnesota, the most important thing from being the law passed in limited conditions—that’s a great start—including intractable pain can only make things better. My biggest worry is that so many people that I’ve spoken to on medical cannabis are people that said their son or daughter ended up in rehab because they smoked that first joint. They smoked something on the street and didn’t know what they were getting, and it usually came down to the drug dealer sprinkled heroin or something else into it. It wasn’t just cannabis—it always seemed that there was something on top of it. For intractable pain it will be so much safer for those in pain. Our son was actually the first that got it, and he has life threatening seizures and we’re seeing some positive results. It’s a little bit of oil. It’s safe—I would never get something on the street—it’s safe and controlled.

  2. I want to thank you all. I just wanted to say a few words about my mom who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and suffers from depression. It’s frustrating for me that she doesn’t get a lot of relief from the prescriptions she’s on and she views medical cannabis as not a viable solution when I feel like it could work for her. So open it up to intractable pain and provide further education about the benefits. I’m really excited to see relief for our loved ones through less harmful side effects.

Comments posted 10/2/15

  1. I strongly encourage you to add pain to the list of treatable conditions under the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Act. While I do not personally suffer from pain, I have relatives that would greatly benefit from this form of therapy.  Studies have shown how this simple drug can greatly improve pain tolerance and create more livable conditions for those suffering.  Thank you.
  2. To Whom it may concern regarding my son [name redacted]'s testimony on the use of medical marijuana... My name is [redacted].  I will be 82 years old in October and I am [name redacted]s mother. My husband and I have two other sons and a daughter.  We were foster parents for Ramsey County for 20 years.  We had newborn and medically high-risk children.  My husband is a retired Professional Electrical Engineer and I hold a college degree in chemistry.  I worked at the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, N.Y. before marriage. I must first tell you that I was mortified when I heard that [son's name redacted] had testified before a State Committee about his use of marijuana as a pain reliever. He believes his pain to be mostly a culmination of  the normal demands of police work.  He has mentioned the lifting of patients when helping the paramedics and I am sure there were many other circumstances as a policeman that put unusual demands on his body.  He did have back surgery which helped to some degree, but he still lives in constant pain.   When I learned about his testimony, I started reading on the subject. [son's name redacted] was anxious to talk with me and answer questions. [son's name redacted] is very intelligent.  He has a high IQ and is qualified in many different areas.  He has studied extensively on the subject of medical marijuana.  I have concluded that if used carefully, it is much better and safer than drugs or alcohol.  I have an especially strong feeling against alcohol and the far reaching affect it can have...  on the person, the family and community. [son's name redacted] is kind, sociable and respectful.  He is a loving son, husband, father and grandfather and it hurts us to see him in pain.  It affects his life day and night.    I know that marijuana, like all painkillers, can be abused.  [son's name redacted] is quite aware of that possibility, of course, and is being careful this does not happen.   [son's name redacted] has spent his working years in police and church work.  His work in both areas was to uphold the law - the laws of the State and God's laws as given in His Word.  It is especially sad that to have a safer and more effective medication, he would have to break the law or move to another State. My hope in writing this is that those in a position to do so will consider the value of medical marijuana for those with chronic pain.  Hopefully there will soon be an acceptable resolution to this issue. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my views and to support my son.
  3. My life partner went to the doctor for abdominal pain and was diagnosed with fibroid tumors.  Her docs were concerned that she was damaging her liver with the amount of Ibuprofen she was taking, but she could not function in life on the available opiates (Vicodin made her unable to even read a newspaper, finding herself rereading the same paragraph over and over).  Surgery was recommended.  When she went for a second opinion to another doctor, the advice was that her choice was ongoing pain, or surgery, no other choice.  That second doctor recommended medical marijuana to her.  (She lived in California where doctors have the legal right to decide how and when to treat patients with marijuana.)  She consulted a surgeon and scheduled surgery.  Before the surgery, she used medical marijuana to manage the pain of the fibroids, keeping her usage of ibuprofen within tolerable limits for her liver.  Her surgeon, a young woman from India, disapproved of medical marijuana and did not recommend that my partner use it.  She went into the hospital and had the surgery, was in for 3 days afterward recovering, and was restricted by hospital rules from being able to use medical marijuana during that time.  When discharged, she could barely walk, but she made a point of having me stop at a pharmacy to pick up her Vicodin prescription on the way home from the hospital, because she felt so dependent on it to manage the post-operative pain.  Once she got home, she was able to use medical marijuana again.  The first day home, she cut her dose of Vicodin in half -- and by the second day she was not using Vicodin or any opiates at all.  She could arise in the morning clear-headed and take no drugs.  As she did her stretches and exercises to recover from the abdominal surgery, if she pulled a scar in a painful way, she could stop and take one or two puffs of medical marijuana, which would cause the pain to recede within about 45 seconds, and then resume her exercises.  If she had been using Vicodin pills she would have had to take one when she got up, being medicated all day, because it takes the pills about half an hour to relieve the pain, instead of 45 seconds.  Her sense of pain would have been dulled throughout her exercises and she would not have even known that she was doing much of the exercises without causing herself pain.  When she went to see her surgeon a week or two after being discharged from the hospital, the surgeon was amazed at the progress of her recovery.  When my partner pointed out that she had been using medical cannabis rather than opiates to treat the post-operative pain, the surgeon realized that the constipation caused by opiates is a major factor in long recovery times from abdominal surgery.  When managing pain with medical marijuana, the intestines and abdominal cavity behave normally, and this allows normal healing, movement, and flow through the bowels to speed the recovery.  The surgeon became much more receptive to the use of medical mariuana in the future.  My partner made a full recovery and has no abdominal pain today.  She no longer uses medical marijuana and does not have a medical marijuana recommendation.  I do not know if fibroid tumor pain qualifies under your bureaucratic rules as "intractable", but I consider any pain that gives you no choice other than having somebody cut you open and take out body parts, to be pretty darn intractable.  Let me encourage you to free the doctors and patients of Minnesota to use medical marijuana WHENEVER it can help a patient.  Just as in Washington, DC and California, you could enable the use of medical marijuana for "any condition that in the opinion of the treating physician would benefit the patient". The theory that marijuana is so harmful that bureaucrats have to restrict it to certain categories is a regulatory mistake, because it does not take account of the harm caused by what medical marijuana is replacing -- in this case ibuprofen and opiates with much worse and possibly permanent side effects (on her liver).  Judge Francis Young of the DEA described marijuana as "one of the safest medically active substances known to man" and he was right.  The safety profile of marijuana is so much better than that of your typical prescription or over-the-counter medicine that it is amazing to me that responsible regulators like yourselves would consider withholding it from people who are suffering from the unsafe side effects of these other legal replacement medicines.  Check the death rates from popular meds and then compare that to the death rates from marijuana, in order to make a well informed decision  Thank you for asking the public for comments on this rulemaking.
  4. I’ve shared a few details of my son’s life, just a history from the time he was born.  He was born with a medical condition called atrx syndrome so his mental capacity is severely diminished.  At age 17 months his condition cost him the loss of all his limbs.  So that’s been an issue, is there phantom limb pain? He is constantly struggling with issues. In 2005 he was diagnosed with a very rare form of lymphoma.  6 months of chemotherapy. Thought he was in remission, a year later it was back. Two years of chemotherapy, which has infected his internal organs with neuropathy, severe nerve pain.  He cannot speak, he cannot tell us, and we know how to read his actions. But something like this that would give us another option, rather than trazodone, 6 hours around the clock, I think is a no-brainer. We need an option rather than narcotics that we can get prescribed as easily as we want to get them. I just want another option to try to see if he could get better relief.  That’s my story.
  5. I want to thank you all. I just wanted to say a few words about my mom who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and suffers from depression. It’s frustrating for me that she doesn’t get a lot of relief from the prescriptions she’s on and she views medical cannabis as not a viable solution when I feel like it could work for her. So open it up to intractable pain and provide further education about the benefits. I’m really excited to see relief for our loved ones through less harmful side effects.
  6. In regard to adding to Minnesota, the most important thing from being the law passed in limited conditions—that’s a great start—including intractable pain can only make things better. My biggest worry is that so many people that I’ve spoken to on medical cannabis are people that said their son or daughter ended up in rehab because they smoked that first joint. They smoked something on the street and didn’t know what they were getting, and it usulally came down to the drug dealer sprinkled heroin or something else into it. It wasn’t just cannabis—it always seemed that there was something on top of it. For intractable pain it will be so much safer for those in pain. Our son was actually the first that got it, and he has life threatening seizures and we’re seeing some positive results. It’s a little bit of oil. It’s safe—I would never get something on the street—it’s safe and controlled.
  7. Almost three years ago, our then 42 year old daughter, had a small cancer removed.  It should have been a quick surgery and relatively fast recovery.  The cancer was encapsulated and required no further treatment.  However, because of the location of the cancer the pudendal nerve was injured.  This nerve runs from our belly buttons through our bottoms and up our backs (in both men and women) and has hundreds of branches going in many different directions.  She has been in almost constant pain since that day. She was recently diagnosed at Mayo Clinic with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and erythromelalgia.  She has also had Type I diabetes since she was 10 years old.   On a good day, a day she says is a 3 or 4 on a 1-10 scale, she is able to do one or two things; take a short walk, go out for lunch or visit with family.  On the other days, which sadly outnumber the good days, she is in agony, a 5-9 on that same scale, and cannot do much of anything.  She has been robbed of time with her husband and two teen-agers, her extended family and has given up her job.  [Daughter's name redacted] has seen doctors at the U of MN, Fairview, Allina, Mayo and a clinic in AZ.  She has tried acupuncture, yoga, vitamins & diet, meditation, mindfulness, MAPS pain clinics, cortisone injections, botox injections, spinal injections, surgery, physical therapy and pain meds.  Her life is completely altered and she has recently applied for disability although she fought it as long as possible. [daughter's name redacted] is an RN who worked for 22 years in various nursing capacities.  For the preceding 6 years she had been an Endoscopy Nurse, caring for patients having day surgeries, endoscopies and colonoscopies.  She has not worked since a few weeks after the surgery.   From all the information we have seen, medical marijuana seems like something that just might give her some relief.  It works on the pain centers in the brain and if it gave her even slight relief it would be life changing.  She could again spend time with family and friends, and who knows, maybe she could even go back to work.  Please, please consider expanding the medical marijuana uses to include chronic pain.  It could change our daughter’s life and many others.   Thank you, [name and contact information redacted] Maple Grove, MN.

Comments posted 10/7/15

  1. I think it is very important to include 'intractable pain' in the list of qualifying conditions for using medical cannabis. Pain is a very important issue, causing much inability to be employed, carry out activities of daily living and greatly impacts quality of life for many people. I have a sister with head pain for 3 years which is quite debilitating. She has had thousands of dollars of tests and procedures at Mayo, with no relief. The doctors there are not willing or able to consider cannabis. Their hands are tied because of this crazy qualifying list! She should be able to at least TRY it to see if it works. There should also be some action concerning the issue of cost and ability to access someone who will prescribe, as well as insurance coverage! I can conceive of this to be a large problem. Why can't we control things that are important. Many drugs are FAR more addicting and dangerous, and not as effective, probably!! I feel this should be taken care of immediately!
  2. Regarding 24/7 pain, it harms the patient and their family. My wife has 24/7 pain and has been on opiates for over 10 years. Pain control is poor and side effects and dangers of opiates are unspeakable. (she had both hips, both knees replaced in her 50s due to arthritis). We live near Canada where a pain patient can home grow cannabis, like they can in Oregon, Colorado, California, Washington and even Washington DC. My wife has gone thru years of treatment with so pain doctors and all their pills and injections. She should have the option of cannabis. At least it will not kill her like the opiates could do ( btw, she is on oxygen also). I myself have a TBI so I cope poorly and I have pain from a back injury caused by an assault while working in hospital. I also have pain from arthritis and the only drug that helped was double dose of vioxx and that was taken off the market. You probably know in Israel cannabis is used to treat TBI patients. I would like to at least try it for my chronic pain, I cannot fix by brain injury but with less pain maybe I could function.
  3. My husband has suffered intractable pain for over 15 years as a result of chronic daily headaches. He has a headache, all day, every day and has had no respite despite taking dozens of medications, physical therapy, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, TENS, massage, yoga, and having a neurostimulator device surgically implanted along his occipital nerve over five years ago. He stopped working full-time in May 2005 and was able to receive two years of medical disability pay from his employer, but once that policy ended in 2007, the company he worked for was eliminated and he was forced to try to work for himself. This has not been possible and he now probably only manages to work 5-10 hours per month.   We have had to sell our house and move into a town home that has less maintenance needs. Our savings are gone and we are almost living paycheck to paycheck. We worry about our long-term financial stability as we are just getting by.   In addition to his chronic pain, my husband has developed major depression and panic attacks. He has severe cognitive issues and cannot remember simple tasks or conversations. He has developed obstructive sleep apnea which he tries to treat with CPAP. His only respite from pain is sleeping and his day-to-day routine usually means excessive napping which has ruined his sleep schedule. He has gained significant weight as well over the years and I worry about this causing more health issues in the future such as diabetes, joint pain, and heart disease. He doesn't exercise beyond walking our dog a few minutes each day.   We feel hopeless. Medical doctors have told him repeatedly that there is nothing they can do for him. We would be very interested in trying medicinal cannabis and have often thought of driving to CO to purchase oil but have not done so as we recognize that we would be putting ourselves in legal jeopardy if caught.   Our family life has suffered immensely. We parent a teenage daughter who is also suffering from major depression and social anxiety disorder. We rarely do activities as a family and our marriage is in total survival mode. We need something to cling to for a potential treatment to try and hope the Legislature recognizes the toll intractable pain places on families and the broader community and allows this to be a treated condition under state law.
  4. My husband was hit by two cars in a six month period and now he has intractable pain because of it. He cannot bend over to pick up our new baby girl and lives in constant back and leg pain. His spine will never be the dame again. Currently he lives in Oregon where he can smoke and ease his pain as needed. Please take this into consideration as you cast your vote about whether or not someone pain can be measured or if the deserve the help that the government claims they want to give its people.   Thank you!
  5. I have a girlfriend that has been diagnosed with ehlers danlos. This is a disease that is extremely painful day in and day out. The doctors do not have a way to treat the pain other than barbiturates but they will only prescribe for so long before they try to stop the treatment because they are afraid it will damage the liver. The last thing she cares about right now is her liver.  Here is the deal. I watch as she moans in pain every night. I watch her limbs jump for hours as she simply tries to fall asleep. When she does sleep it is simply out of sheer exhaustion and she will sleep for a maximum of a few hours before the pain wakes her up.  Long story short, Level 10 pain almost all of the time and no way to treat it. The doctors eventually all say there is nothing they can do. She will just have to live with it.   When you decide whether or not this is legalized I sincerely hope that you are considering your family member that might be diagnosed with such a thing. I know what it is like to have her look me straight in the eyes and ask me with all sincerity "Please kill me, I can't do it myself. I am too scared. I can't live like this anymore, I just don't want to live like this anymore" How will you handle this? Furthermore, what if this drug could help, Even though there have been studies and testimonials that prove it works on so many things yet because of social stigma, and a lack of an accurate education on the matter will you vote no? What happens when you go to work and arrive home to find your loved one a victim of suicide? Do you take your share of the blame?  You are rolling your eyes and you think I am being ridiculous. I have to worry about this every day. Is today the day that she will actually work up the courage to do it. After all, what is the value of being alive when it is nothing more that torture to stay alive.
  6. I’m [Name redacted] from Apple Valley with wife and son, who was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which does not qualify for program. He does not have intractable pain. I am in support to expand intractable pain just so it can be open to another disease to be able to get in the program. He doesn’t suffer from intractable pain, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy is not a painful disease but he’s spent the past ten years wheelchair and it is uncomfortable. And he has used marijuana, and it does help him. He’s an adult, and I think he should have a choice. And the state should be open to it, and if we don’t, I think it will be very difficult to be successful. I own a business, and I know we can’t be successful with two manufacturers and eight distributers. And we may paint ourselves in a corner with this, and we need to open the door to intractable pain and then open for others and allow parents patients and doctors to make decision
  7. My wife has CRPS, which is intractable pain, and though her experience with opiates is no way to live a life but marijuana is for pain.
  8. I have a 32 year old daughter that has fibromyalgia and has had it since she was 13 years old, and we have tried everything. Back before Botox was even recommended, we tried Botox she has tried every pain pill imaginable and nothing works. And I admire her for the courage that she has. Every day she’s in constant pain she has a 4 year old and her husband is on the road and I feel it would turn her life around. It wouldn’t be a struggle like it is now.
  9. I believe intractable pain should be added because my mother has exhausted other type of medication and believe that may be the only thing tha could help her. She is 83 years old and has no other alternative left.

Comments posted 10/25/15

  1. As a spouse from someone in chronic pain, unless you have been with someone who has chronic pain, you don’t realize how deeply it affects your life, all levels. I deeply support any expansion of this program so intractable pain can be added. I do know the history of the bill itself, that Dayton was not going to sign the bill because they had some concerns on abuse and there was an article posted this summer that looked at other states and their medical cannabis use and there has not been an increase in teenage use, to me that seems [inaudible]. When there are people dying from heroin overdoses every week in this state because they gateway from prescription painkillers that they got from their parents medicine cabinet, it seems kind of contradictory that they are not concerned about people being on hydrocodone but yet they are worried about some marijuana.
  2. My wife has been battling pain from a form of rheumatoid arthritis that has yet to be accurately diagnosed. She has been treated with many medicines to relieve her pain. It does not make sense to me that marijuana is excluded from this list. The fact that our law enforcement agencies are against this use for fear that it's use will somehow get out of hand makes no sense when a person can already purchase it easily, anywhere. I feel that a majority of people support the use of medical marijuana, and possibly the recreational use also. Are not the law enforcement agencies supposed to enforce laws, and supposedly those laws are a reflection of what the people living in the society feel threatened by? It is not for law enforcement to decide these things for the people, it is law enforcement that does the bidding of the people. We should not be making laws that seem to justify large and expensive law enforcement agencies. I would also submit that the cost of some of the medications that are currently considered legal and safe are a burden on the overall cost of healthcare. I would think that the ultimate goal of the government and in particular the department of public health would be to enhance public health and make it attainable to the people it serves. Now I don't know if there is a strain of marijuana that would help my wife or not...but by making decisions based on outdated, institutionalized ideas and information hinders what should be your goals and intentions. I think there is enough reliable information out there now to advocate the expanded use of this otherwise wasted resource. I understand that you probably receive enormous pressure from pharaceutical companies to heed their science over others but the root of this problem comes to light in the form of who's side are you on?
  3. I am in complete agreement to open the medical cannabis program in MN to those with extreme pain issues. I both work with adults with disabilities and have family members with major pain issues who would benefit from expanding this program.
  4. My son-in-law was in a car accident nearly three years ago. He has had severe, chronic pain in his back and neck ever since, with numbness and tingling in his hands. Conventional medical treatment was ineffective in relieving his pain and his doctors simply gave up treating him and even reported that he was "fully recovered," thereby cutting off any hope of disability aid. On a recent trip to Colorado, where marijuana use is legal, he discovered a patch (half THC, half CBD) that gave him surcease from his pain for nearly 10 hours. It was wonderful to see him able to move freely, to walk up and down stairs without pain. Medical marijuana plans in the state of Minnesota SHOULD be expanded to include intractable pain. I would go further and recommend that recreational marijuana be legalized in Minnesota as it is in Colorado, as even if medical marijuana is expanded in Minnesota, my son-in-law may not be able to get a medical card due to his doctor's erroneous and harmful conclusion that because their methods were ineffective, it must mean he had no more pain
  5. I have seen how medical marijuana has helped with my friend and family member who were suffering from cancer. It should without question be opened up for every illness with severe and constant pain. It is a natural substance and is way safer than any prescription narcotic with the many, many side effects caused by them.
  6. My 23 year old son has had the term "intractable pain" used in his diagnosis by various physicians due to traumatic brain injury and subsequent headaches and migraines. He is at a point in his life where he strongly desires to be an independent adult, however due to his high pain levels, that currently is not a possibility. He has tried more than every type of medication/ physical therapy/ acupuncture/ chiropractor/ bio-feedback/cognitive behavior therapy/ over the counter quackery, over the years as preventives, abortives along with anti-anxiety and anti- depressants (due to chronic pain). I have been in fear for his life due to the amount and mixture of medications. I strongly believe that medical Cannabis should be available to those patients with intractable pain who have tried many other routes of treatment, only to have failure, after failure, after failure. Most moms wouldn't be seeking medical cannabis for their child unless they have been through every other option possible and are desperate for their child to have a better quality of life. Thank you for taking opinions and considering this as a potential option for those suffering from so much pain. Sincerely, [name redacted]
  7. I strongly support adding intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for the medical marijuana program. My stepfather has dealt with chronic back pain for the past 30 years due to a debilitating back injury and an unsuccessful surgery that left him disabled. Numerous physical and mental therapy programs and countless medications over all these years with limited success. In addition to this, there has been a strong push to reduce or stop completely narcotic pain medications, so he is pushed to use less effective alternative medications prescribed to him in addition to reducing medication quantity overall. I have seen the toll that it takes on him and his body in the daily grind. On his best days, he can get up midday and do a couple small projects and on his worst days, he doesn't sleep at night and cannot get out of bed at all. Traveling is all but impossible and a medium length trip can completely lay him up for extended periods of time. I feel that medical marijuana would be a better, more natural alternative to what he has to use now and I would like to see it added to the list of approved conditions.
  8. I am the mother of a physically ill, newly-minted adult.  She has suffered for the past two years from constant, intractable pain and extreme nausea that does not respond to anti-nausea medication.  We had hoped that she would qualify for Medical Marijuana (MM) here in Minnesota, but because of the highly restrictive law here (clearly written to prevent anyone but those with terminal illnesses from accessing it), she does not qualify, despite her quality of life being so severely affected.  She is no 'stoner', she doesn't want to go through life 'high' -- despite her pain and all the ways this disease has been limiting her, she made the Dean's List at the UMN-Twin Cities both semesters last year as a PSEO student! -- but she gets some relief through using marijuana, though not to the degree she could if she actually had access to medical-grade marijuana.    As a result of the moralistic, patronizing attitude that has dominated the MN marijuana law -- that both prevents patients with intractable pain from accessing a PROVEN medicine, as well as makes it difficult for MN physicians to feel they can prescribe MM to ANYBODY for fear of prosecution -- we will be leaving Minnesota next month to move to a state where she will, in fact, have access to MM - and without the patronizing judgment of state legislators.
  9. I am writing to ask for support in adding chronic pain as a qualifier for medical marijuana. My husband was paralyzed 11 years ago from a benign spinal cord tumor. His chronic pain prevents him from getting quality sleep and has forced him to be on disability because he is no longer able to work due to the residual factors. The medication he takes now doesn't keep the pain at bay and severely affects his concentration, thought process, reasoning and judgement. Please help him get his quality of life back! Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with our story and our plea for help.
  10. I would like to see the medical marijuana program opened to more categories including pain.  My mother-in-law, fell and broke her neck this past Christmas and is on heavy pain medication that her stomach can't tolerate.  It would be great if we had the opportunity to try a pill or liquid form of marijuana. Also, I would like the medical marijuana opened to more items if possible.  I have a mentally handicapped daughter who has aggressive behaviors.  She currently has two staff paid by the state to watch over her.  If we could try to calm her using medical marijuana, her aggressions may be reduced and staffing may also be reduced.  I know this is a huge concern with doctors and nurses getting beat up by aggressive mentally handicapped patients.  Please consider opening the program to more categories and leaving the prescribing to the doctors.  Thank you.
  11. Eight years ago my sister, [name redacted], had knee replacement surgery. Since that time she has had constant pain in her knee area. She is on pain medicines that give her a couple hours of relief. They are not good for her long term health. Doctors have been unable to help her. It has been very sad to see her quality of life slip away from her. Her thoughts and actions focus on how to get some pain relief. When she goes out it is generally for a doctor's appointment. I sincerely hope that people who suffer from severe and constant pain can be added to the medical cannabis program in Minnesota
  12. My 89 year old mother (her weight is the same as her age!) has had intractable pain down her left leg, lower back and feet for ten years now.   We have been to every specialist imaginable including the Mayo clinic.  They cannot pinpoint her problem.  She currently takes 4 doses of 5mg of methadone a day plus 800 mg of gabapentin.   I don't know how she stands the pain but her generation is very stoic and it appears she currently has no choice but to do so.    Please please please let us try medical cannabis for her.    thank you
  13. I 'am in favor of adding intractable pain to the medical marijuana use. My wife suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, also has had disc surgery and is in constant pain that no medication has been helpful She is 63 and I'm 68 and feel that the $200 license fee is excessive for seniors. I cannot understand why law enforcement would be against this, Why give money to criminals instead of the state. The state with is money is trying to help its citizens the criminals with its profits are out for themselves. I fear that Minnesota has no heart for people suffering from pain,.
  14. The addition of intractable pain to the current list of qualifying conditions is an important step forward for medical cannabis in the state of Minnesota. My mom, who is a current patient qualified with muscle spasms, suffered from severe pain related to her Multiple Sclerosis prior to becoming a medical cannabis patient. She hadn't "smoked weed" since the 1970's and never liked it. However, since beginning her medication on July 1st, her quality of life has improved immensely - not just because her muscle spasms have subsided - but because she is not in pain anymore. The cannabis allows her to sleep through the night and wake up in the morning (virtually) pain-free. She has refused narcotics since getting sober (from alcohol) 20 years ago, so her pain was only managed with Tylenol prior to becoming a patient. However, now that she has cannabis for spacisity and pain relief, she doesn't even need the Tylenol. It is unfair to keep this safer alternative from patients due to arbitrary concerns that patients will "abuse" the program.   In my role with [advocacy group name redacted] (I am speaking as an individual and not on the organization's behalf), I have spoken with patients from all over the state, both "legal" patients and "black market" patients. These people are not using cannabis to "get high" - they are using it to relieve the symptoms of whatever illness they suffer from. Sure, there are individuals out there that use cannabis recreationally (which is a distinctly different type of use), but that shouldn't stop Minnesota from offering a safer alternative to dangerous opiates and habit forming non-narcotic pain relievers. It is important to note  cannabis has an LD50 (3000 mg/kg - or 10 lbs of hashish for a 154 pound human in one sitting) that is impossible for an individual to reach. (Institute for Cannabis Therapeutics, 2010). Compared to Alcohol (.40% BAC) and Tobacco (40-60mg/kg of nicotine) which are both legal substances bought every day in Minnesota (2010). There are approximately 100,000 deaths annually in the United States from Alcohol and nearly 500,000 deaths caused by tobacco/nicotine (2010). The CDC and DEA do not even publish the number of cannabis deaths - because there are no cases of cannabis as the primary cause of death.   I took the time to read a few comments that raise concerns from public safety officials that are filled with citations and quotes from studies demonizing a plant. What these comments neglect to include are the statistics regarding opiate use, abuse, and addiction. I didn't have to go far to find information on opiate use. In the United States, there are an estimated 2.1 million people suffering from substance use disorders related to opioid pain relievers and the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has "soared" since 1999, with rates quadrupling over the past 15 years. (Volkow, N.D., 2014). Opioids are over prescribed, leading to an escalation in their use (2014). Data on the relationship between opioid abuse and heroin use indicate a trend that opioid use leads to subsequent heroin use - and adoption of high-risk behavior (Siegal, 2003).   Now, I find it hard to believe, that public safety benefits from two conclusions - (1) that opioids are a safer treatment option for pain than cannabis; and (2) it is safer for sick people to obtain cannabis on the black market. These conclusions are not made up, rather these conclusions are based on the arguments put forth by law enforcement and public safety officials. It is time that Minnesota's public safety officials and lobbyists stop with their rhetoric on the "dangers" of cannabis and allow patients access to the safer alternative - not just for pain, but for any illness that benefits from the use of cannabis. Doctors and patients should determine whether cannabis is a benefit, not law enforcement. It is not fair to patients (including children and the elderly) to withhold a safer treatment for their illness.  Institute for Cannabis Therapeutics. (2010). Rescheduling of cannabis. Retrieved from:  Siegal, H.A. (2003). Probable relationship between opioid abuse and heroin use. American Family Physician. 67(5):942-945. Retrieved from:  Volkow, N.D. (2014). America's addiction to opioids: Heroin and prescription drug abuse. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. National Institute on Drug Abuse.  Retrieved from:
  15. My spouse has had to experience multiple surgeries due to a car accident that took place in 2008. Due to these surgeries the doctors continue to prescribe opiates as a means of dealing with the various levels of  pain.  In attempts to reduce the opiate use we did tried several things including: various kinds of nonnarcotic pain relief only to have to visit ER room as we discovered after so many tries it wasn't withdrawal symptoms he was experiencing it was a severe reaction to NSIADS that cause severe abdominal cramping, high heart rate and difficulty breathing. We tried having an internal spinal cord stimulator installed into my husband’s back, the temporary one seemed to work and we proceed with a permanent one which only created more problems for him including 3 additional back surgeries as the device had broken off in his back, new one would shock his heart every time it was turned on. The programmers and doctors could not get it to work and his body started rejecting the internal battery pack. Not the answer we were seeking.  We attempted treatment he was an inpatient at [facility name redacted] and had to leave as the withholding of some of his meds caused an intestinal blockage that created means for a surgery of his intestines. We also into outpatient programs and were told the problem is he has actual pain from surgeries and he needs to accept the fact that his pain is chronic. That doctor referred us to speak with director of a Methadone clinic which seemed worse than the medication he was taking through his doctor. Issue is the methadone was just replacing one drug for another and would cause more harm.  We met with other doctors who tried to convince us there was another route. Installing a morphine pain reduce opiate use and yet more back surgeries. We passed when we discovered just over a year ago 14 people in Minnesota died due to malfunctions of the [brand name redacted] pump they were "strongly recommending" which was pointed out "Would definitely be approved an could be installed in 72 hours". No thank you.  Due to the years of opiate medication and the toll on his body we just completed another surgery where yet another section of intestines has been cut out of him because opiate medications seem be only thing that work for his multiple spinal fusions, SI fusions and ongoing chronic pain. But the opiates come with a costly price eventually we will have no more bowels left but that is the minor side of things. My spouse had to close his business and accept that this is now his life, at age 44 he has had close to 19 surgeries( 13 of which have been in past 4 years), doctor appointments and daily pain, missing or not being able to attend family or community events...the depression and anxiety have stolen more than the surgeries.  have and yet we find there are limited  means to assist him with this situation. He can only continue to than take his mass quantities of various oral prescriptions for his chronic pain, nerve damage, muscles, anxiety, depression, anti-nausea and so on.  However, he has tried non-legal marijuana and his pain level dropped from it's usual daily number of "6-7" to around a "2" . He says he didn't experience the side effects that he does daily from his other meds and that he'd consider medical marijuana an option if it could replace at least some of his medications and save his insides from further damage. As a wife and mother I am begging that this State of Minnesota recognize the benefits of this drug for people experiencing chronic pain and how it can not only prolong the physical life of its patients but provide a better quality of life as well.  Thank you in advance for your consideration and for providing me the opportunity to advocate for not only my husband but the many others in this State that would benefit deeply if you pass a bill to allow marijuana for those in chronic pain.
  16. My mother has chronic pain issues. She has done therapy, nerve blocks, steroid shots all kinds of stuff. She was convinced by her doctor to go on oxycodone. She has to take 40mg a day. I once asked her if she would try some edibles. She agreed and they worked better for her pain than the opiates. Opiates have so many downsides. It's seems cannabis only has prohibition against it. Please change the law.
  17. Please add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions in the MN Medical Cannabis Program.  My son had a spinal cord injury with subsequent paralysis and neuropathic pain that he felt was tolerable.  Unfortunately he developed secondary peripheral neuropathies with extreme pain that continues to worsen and has been far more debilitating than the spinal cord injury.  It has severely limited all aspects of his life and he now needs considerable care.  Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat and his pain has not responded to available treatments.  Ironically, treatment with opioids was easily available.  These actually made things worse and he is totally off such treatment.  He has seen different doctors and many things have been tried with no success.  It is so difficult to see someone you love and care for suffer so much.
  18. I am writing to urge the committee to include "intractable pain" in the approved list of conditions eligible to be treated with medical cannabis. I am a daily witness to two Minnesotans suffering from what the [facility name redacted] has diagnosed as severe widespread chronic muscular skeletal pain and what other doctors have labeled as myofascial pain and fibromyalgia.    One is an adult whose career was cut short by pain beginning 10 years ago and the other is a teenager whose pain began more than three years ago.  Both have been seen by some of the best pain doctors in the nation. They have tried numerous approaches to pain management, including physical therapy, meditation, biofeedback, graduated exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and yoga. Both take several prescription medications which are known to cause liver damage or which place them at risk for addiction.  I understand that medical marijuana may be safer and more effective in treating chronic pain than the medications currently prescribed. I ask you to please legalize some form of affordable cannabinoid products that may give them some much needed relief and allow them to more fully participate in society again.  Thank you.
  19. My girlfriend suffers from endometriosis and fibromyalgia.  Good days are few and far between, and when they come around they consist of doing laundry, cleaning up the apartment, baking, and other basic things any other human wouldn't need a "good day" to do.  If she does too much on these good days the effects can last for days.  Sore pelvic floor, hips, and arms, all from doing everyday tasks.  The medicine she takes helps a little, but these diseases are so understudied that most prescriptions are basically just best guesses that have more side effects than positives.  Couple this dilemma with her diagnosed depression and anxiety and you can begin to see why marijuana offers hope.  It relaxes her body, calms her nerves, diminishes her pain, and allows her to feel normal.  Not everyone who suffers is visibly identifiable.  The people who suffer from these invisible illnesses deal with the pain of their diseases on top of the mounting pressure from people who don't understand what they're going through and pin them as lazy moochers.  Please, it may not be much, but marijuana is a small gift you can give this community.  Help make someone feel like themself again.
  20. My husband has degenerative disc problems and is chronic, intractable pain. He was awarded disability two years ago. (It broke his heart to not be able to end a career he loved). He takes a variety of prescription pain meds. He has used marijuana in the past (leaf, illicit) and he can have a couple of puffs and feel better than with meds. Yes, he’s ‘smoking’, but we both feel taking the prescription pills day in and day out is doing much greater damage to his body than a couple puffs of pot a couple times a day. He is not smoking to ‘get high’, pain patients aren’t wanting cannabis for the ‘fun’, they simply want an effective treatment for their pain that is less damaging than pills.    The impact this has on our life is staggering.  Everything revolves around pain management. My husband never gets a full night’s sleep and has to lay down every afternoon for at least an hour, sometimes more. By evening he is exhausted, even after doing nothing, and is usually in bed by 8:00. Social functions in the evening are a rarity. Interpersonally and intimately, our relationship is hindered by his taking the meds. We think this would improve if he could use cannabis rather than hydrocodone and Vicodin.    For the record, we would also like to see delivery methods expanded to include leaf. Also, a better geographic disbursement of dispensaries would be helpful. The way it’s set up now leaves many with having to drive over 3 hours (one way) to reach a dispensary. That may not seem to be a hurdle for the folks at the capital, but for patients who have to rely on someone else making the trip once per month it’s huge. Rather than appoint locations according to legislative district (leave it to the legislature to come up with that), having a dispensary located in the middle of an approximate nine county district would be much more convenient for patients. Is it really necessary to have four in the metro area?! This said, we realize both these factors would require amending the law and is the purview of the legislature. Although we’re not sure we could even afford to have him enrolled in the medical cannabis program, we fully support the expansion of the program to include intractable pan.
  21. Dear Sir/Madam:  I believe that intractable pain should be added to the list of qualifying conditions in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program. I would add that medical cannabis be available as another option for pain treatment and not just prescribed as a last resort. With proper regulations, medical cannabis is a viable treatment for pain and other ailments without the "high" associated with recreational use. Medical cannabis is a natural painkiller, not synthetic, and with fewer side effects. If the concern is public opinion, hopefully there are enough public comments to convince the MDH.  My father has lived with chronic pain for at least four years. He is a retired naval officer and has spinal stenosis. He is not a good candidate for surgery due to his age. He is not convinced by cortisone shots, although we are working on getting a consultation. He does not believe in taking dilaudid or other oral narcotics because they cause drowsiness and/or confusion. He wants to keep his mind sharp. So he uses only Lidoderm patches and acetaminophen. These are not enough but he is only willing to try natural painkillers or something that will not affect his mind.   There is no guarantee that medical cannabis will be the final solution to my father's chronic pain. But is only makes medical sense to be able to try as many safe options as possible. Individual's responses to medicines are different; everyone's convictions are different. Thank you for your consideration.
  22. In support, cancer survivor for 7 years, when I went through the chemo different pain medications, I was throwing up a lot.  I don’t know if I will be cancer free forever so I’m glad it is here now but wants to have this program to grow.  My partner has intractable pain and wants this program to grow for her use of the product.
  23. I got involved with medical cannabis when my father had seven failed back operations, and I saw painkillers are addictive with side effects. So I looked on the computer and found medical cannabis, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours studying. It’s hard to talk today because intractable pain is only a fraction. It should be any disease. Cannabis unique, far reaching with minimal side effects and almost impossible to overdose on. But it’s a “Schedule 1 drug with no medical value.” That is the most insane sentence since the world is flat. What could be done to change the federal ruling? Could the Department of Health pull a coalition together? Intractable pain absolutely be added, but that is just a baby step in right direction. 16,000 people die per year from overdose on pain killers. For cannabis, no percent has ever credibly associated with overdose. It’s almost impossible to overdose on cannabis. I found a figure that says you would need 1,000 the daily dose to overdose on cannabis. Looking at other states like Colorado, overdose deaths dropped by 25%--huge reductions. I hope that the looks like the promise is there that committee can go on beyond intractable pain, and the list of what medical cannabis could not help would be shorter. I hope you help our veterans. An Israeli study on PTSD said results were spectacular, and we don’t let heroes get medical cannabis at all. I hope you can work to get the law changed. Every part of law is opposite of what it should be. The state charges a fee and allows only two manufacturers and a few conditions to be treated. The state doesn’t allow leaves or flowers. I found a study that the forms the state offers are five times as expensive as the flower. I hope to see a lot of changes in the future. And what can we as individuals do to get medical cannabis expanded? It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.
  24. I would like to see FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome) added to that list. My father has a really serious case of FMS and and is really in pain every day. His quality of life has diminished and it really is hard to see my dad in pain every day. I was really not understanding why it isn’t added already. He is in true pain every day. He can’t go out anywhere he wants; he has to stay home, doesn’t go to church anymore. It’s hard to walk, sleep and whatnot. There’s a whole list of things related to his quality of life. I really would like to see FMS on the list and my dad wants to try medical cannabis to improve his quality of life. He would like to try that. It’s hard to see him that way. Also my father informed me that he suspects my great grandfather who was in bed for 10 years possibly had FMS. But that was a long time ago. So I don’t want to see that happen to my dad or anyone else in my family, and my father warned me that FMS could be genetic. So I don’t want that to happen to me or my family, but if it does I would like to have that added to the list. My dad wants to try to improve his quality of life.
  25. I have a 38 year old son that has a tumor in his spine. He’s had surgery on it once.  They made it worse than what it was. He’s in pain 24/7, 365 days per year. He has absolutely no life. I have to clean his house and take him where he needs to go, do his laundry. I can do everything for him. He has no life at all. He can be in or out of bed 20 minutes at a time. He is up all day, all night. Doesn’t sleep, he doesn’t eat very much. Then we went to the office. He’s been in bed so long. He is in bed for 3-6 weeks at a time. He’s up for a day or half a day then he’s in a bed. He is now gaining a lot of weight because he hasn’t had any activity.  We have tried all the pain medications and muscle relaxers, and there is no relief. He has no feeling from his knees to his feet. He barely can move most days. Most days he doesn’t get out of bed. What I would like to see is the law is a great law but the expense--he’s on Medicare and SSI and all the other social services, but there’s no way we can afford this kind of money to spend on him every month. But how in the heck can we not? He’s 38 years old.  He’s got a lot of years left. But just to lie in bed and suffer? It’s just not right. Expense is most of the problem. Like they said, most of the docs tell you to get it off the street and that is the only thing that is going to help you. And yet you guys are regulating this to the point that we can’t use it because we can’t afford it so what good is it going to do.
  26. I can’t feel my husband’s pain. But like I’ve side I’ve seen him crying as I leave to my bible study group to pray that he will die because he’s in so much pain. I would like to say how much this affects my life and my family’s life.  Because he is in so much chronic pain he wants to move, and I understand that and will follow him wherever he needs to go. But I’d need to leave my 2 children and my 2 grandchildren to go. I understand. I’m a rule keeper. I’m all about what’s legal. That’s why he went to Colorado. He wanted to try it illegal, and I said no. It cost him a few thousand dollars to go to Colorado, and it was well worth it. It worked for him. He came home, and he was so ecstatic because it worked for him. It took his pain away. But it also gave him false hope when he came home because it is illegal here, and I won’t allow him to go the illegal route because that’s not who I am. And I won’t allow that around my grandchildren and things like that because it’s illegal. So it’s affected our family because he’s in a lot of pain he doesn’t go to family functions anymore. He doesn’t go to the park for a picnic anymore. He doesn’t do those things because he doesn’t really have the energy or if he does something it causes him so much more pain that he’s not able to get out of bed for a few days. It is not only the people in pain but it is their families that have to take care of their children and have to watch their spouses or children go through the pain and its affecting everybody in the whole family. I think it’s great that they’re trying. I really do I just think it needs a lot of research and a lot of consideration of what the people want because I see a lot of pain here and I just hope that they can help them.  
  27. My wife has had fibromyalgia for 19 years. Some days she’s doing alright and others she can’t get out of bed. She’s in pain all the time. And I wonder about people on the advisory panel. Are they doctors? Or are they people that are really hurting the cost of this is really expensive. I would think the state in its infinite wisdom could come up with a sample pack and give them a chance to see if medical cannabis would work for them instead of investing $2000 or $1500 or whatever. If you are interested in helping the people that are hurting then what you have to do is--you ought to meet them more than half way. You have to meet them ¾ of the way because there’s a lot of people out there who are hurting and don’t say anything. Go to the doctor’s office or the pain clinic. Watch those people come by. Most of them don’t have two nickels to rub together, a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of and now you gues are going to ask them for a ton of money and it might work? Shame on you.


Updated Monday, August 15, 2016 at 03:06PM